Murray Names DSA President Kate Joncas Deputy Mayor of Operations

In a morning press conference Wednesday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray named longtime president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association Kate Joncas deputy mayor of operations.

“For the past twenty years, Kate has been a collaborative leader on a wide variety of issues important to our downtown core,” Murray explained in a press release accompanying the announcement. “From transit and economic development to human services and the redevelopment of our central waterfront, she has been a well-respected, deeply involved and highly influential voice in this city. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, and she also brings history of delivering successful results. I am fortunate and grateful for Kate’s willingness to join my team as deputy mayor.”

According to the release Joncas will receive a salary of $170,000 a year. Her appointment comes on the heels of last week’s historic $15 an hour minimum wage deal, and it’s certainly worth noting that part of Joncas’ job description will include playing “a key role in the ongoing development of Murray’s economic development strategy,” according to the mayor’s office.

“The deputy mayor of operations will continue to function as Murray’s operations lead, which includes communicating mayoral priorities to City departments, coordinating activities both among City departments and between departments and the Mayor’s Office, setting performance outcomes and driving organizational efficiencies,” the press release also notes.

Joncas, as the release makes clear, will “complement the role of Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim,” who “focuses on community and external relations, and is Mayor Murray’s chief liaison to Seattle’s many diverse communities, neighborhoods, other external stakeholders within Seattle, as well as state, regional and national leaders.”

As is customary in such situations, the press release from the mayor’s office included bubbling compliments for the new deputy mayor, from a variety of community stakeholders. Included is praise from Bill Hobson, the longtime director of Seattle’s DESC. Having worked closely with Joncas over the years on issues related to downtown civility and homelessness, Hobson - an advocate for the less fortunate, and the sort of people the business community is usually concerned with “cleaning up” - had nothing but kind words for Joncas.

“Kate is a smart business leader and a community collaborator who does a tremendous job at finding common ground to move projects forward,” Hobson is quoted as saying in the release. “Her efforts in support of the 1811 Eastlake project and the establishment of the Center City Initiative have helped our community make great strides in treating addiction and mental illness.”

“I have a diverse administration with leadership experience in the human services and business,” Murray said on Twitter. “Governing is not an either or. We need a mix.”

Joncas takes over for Andrea Riniker, who came out of retirement to serve Murray on a temporary basis, June 30.

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